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Free, online coping program for middle school students this fall

From: The Child Study Center

Has your child had a hard time dealing with the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic? Would you like them to learn coping skills to help during the transition back to school this fall?

The Child Study Center in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech is conducting a research study (IRB # 21-022) this fall that provides a free, online coping program for middle school students in Montgomery County Public Schools (Auburn, Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Shawsville). 

The RELAX (Regulating Emotions Like An eXpert) Coping Program targets coping, communication, and conflict management skills for use with adolescents who struggle to manage big emotions like anger, frustration, worry, and sadness. The RELAX Coping Program consists of an interactive website with five social-emotional learning modules:

1.    Managing Your Emotions

2.    My Coping Skills

3.    How Emotions Influence Thoughts and Behaviors

4.    How to Respond During Conflicts

5.    Perspective Taking and Conflict Resolution.

In these modules, conflict refers to any disagreement, misunderstanding, or conflictual situation adolescents may have with their peers, teachers, or parents (e.g., how much time the adolescent can spend playing video games, when school work needs to be completed, what sleep schedules should look like, engaging in safe social interactions).

If you and your adolescent agree to participate in the research study, your adolescent will complete the RELAX Coping Program over five weeks. Each week, your adolescent will independently complete the weekly module content (20-30 minutes), and then engage in a small group, ~20 minute discussion with their peers and a clinician over Zoom to help practice the learned skills.

Additionally, as part of the study, parents, adolescents, and teachers will be asked to complete brief online ratings about the adolescents’ social, emotional, and academic functioning at three time points: 1) before starting the coping program, 2) after completing the coping program, and 3) at a six-month follow-up next semester. Parents, adolescents, and teachers will be compensated for their time in completing these rating scales ($5/time point for parents and adolescents for up to $30/family; teacher compensation is based on the number of students for whom they provide ratings). Parent and adolescent surveys each take approximately 15 minutes to complete. Parents will need to consent for us to contact the adolescents’ teachers in order for us to collect these rating scales.

If you are interested in having your adolescent participate in this program, please contact us at or call 540-231-8276, and we will send you a link with the consent and additional information about the study.


Middle School Coping Program Study_1
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